The 7th Grade Experience This Year and Last


Graphic by author Elizabeth Jazo ’26

Elizabeth Jazo, Staff Writer

In the school year 2019-2020, I was a 6th grader. I know that the school year was a great deal different from any year I had ever experienced due to COVID-19. Now that I’m a 7th grader in the year 2020-2021, I’ve found a new understanding of intellect and camaraderie at Falmouth Academy. 

I was a student at Morse Pond (MP), a public school not too far from downtown Falmouth, for 5th and 6th grade. MP was populated with all of the school district’s 10, 11, and 12-year-olds. Unlike FA, I had a homeroom teacher and a team teacher, meaning that two teachers shared the same group of students and each teacher taught two subjects. For example, your homeroom teacher would teach Math and Science, while your team teacher taught English and History. A full class could have up to 50 students. That’s more than the entire Falmouth Academy 7th grade! Also, the school was divided into 6 letter days. For intense, on A day you’d have Music or on D day you’d have Gym. The homework overall was relaxed, and finding help was never an issue. The school work, similar to homework, was very laid back though still was much fun. Things drastically changed when the pandemic hit the United States. We were taught English and Math for 30 minutes each day via a zoom meeting. The school was mostly based on review because of the chaos COVID-19 brought. For example, we relearned the different parts of a story we had read and how to multiply fractions. Science and History were never brought up.

Falmouth Academy (FA) is a different tale. For 7th graders, we have been mostly in-person at school. Being in-person has made it a lot easier to have captivating and instructional classes. The school is almost normal if you don’t think about masks, direction arrows, social distancing, and other procedures. Finding people with similar interests has not been a problem within the grade either. I personally have had little trouble finding people to hang out with. And it does help that Mr. Patrick Kennedy and other class advisors are making activities to get to know each other. 

“The 7th grade has not socialized like past the grades have. We are looking for solutions to find ways for kids to hang out and not worry about school,” said Mr. Patrick Kennedy, the 7th grade class advisors.

For example, the 7th grade had a movie night on November 10 at 5:30 pm. We watched Home Alone, and I feel I had a great time talking to everyone. In History class we made a Kahoot about ourselves that was used to help get to know each other. There were questions like “I have ___ siblings” and “What is my favorite color?” The winner of these Kahoots were usually friends with each other, but it was still a fantastic way to get to know peers. 

Another way to get to know each other would be the 15-minute mask breaks which as Cian Davis ’26 said, are great for “getting to talk to my friends who weren’t in my classes and socializing more with those who were.”  A lot of people at FA enjoy learning and creating, making this year has been wonderful even with the pandemic. However, there are rarely interactions between different grades this year. The aim here is to stop the coronavirus from spreading. This separation has both pros and cons. Pros: You get close to your grade, there are more people at your level to talk to. Cons: There is no older grade help, your friends are only in your grade, you don’t get an older or younger point of view, and you are not as comfortable talking to different ages.

I knew that FA had students from other middle schools attending and so I decided to investigate others’ experiences last spring. I interviewed Willow Wakefield ‘26 from Barnstable intermediate school and Joshua “Josh” McGuire ‘26 from Oak Ridge Elementary School to get a new understanding. I discovered that their experiences had similarities and differences with FA and Morse Pond. When I asked what their previous day-to-day schedule had been, Willow said it was “like the FA schedule but there was homeroom,” while Josh gave me his whole schedule top to bottom. The total number of kids in an Oak Ridge Elementary School class was 23; Barnstable intermediate school had 25 students per class. For Josh, homework was “30 minutes of paper homework and 30 minutes of reading,” which is nowhere near the amount you get a FA. Furthermore, I think all 7th graders and maybe the other grades can agree with Willow that last year was “absolutely horrible” because of the pandemic.